Lesson 54

Parallel Compression

In lesson 4.2 we cover how to use a compressor. The problem with a compressor is that it can suck the life right out of a part. If you apply too much compression, you can hear it pumping the volume up and down. It just doesn’t sound natural. Parallel compression is a technique developed to get the compression you want, while maintaining a natural sound. 

The way you do this is by putting a compressor on an aux bus instead of the main track. This essentially duplicates the track and provides 1 clean channel without compression, blended with an identical channel that has compression. You can apply much more drastic compression, and gradually blend it in. This will raise the volume of only the quiet parts, while keeping the natural sound of the original recording. 
You can still put a compressor on the main track to reduce the volume of the loud parts, but keep the settings more mild, and combine it with the parallel compression that brings up the volume of the quiet parts. This way, you can get much more natural sounding compression. I like using this technique on vocals and on drum overheads. 

Let’s give it a try, and compare it with just a single compressor on the track.